Classroom Solutions > Nancy Jang > End-of-the-Year Reflections

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End-of-the-Year Reflections

DSC00135As the school year draws to a close, I begin reflecting back on everything that's happened. What were the challenges this year? What could I have done differently? Join me as I answer these questions and more. You can also watch a cute video of a few of my students reflecting on their 2nd grade year.





The end of 2nd grade is exciting and sad at the same time. My students have grown, learned, and changed so much in the past months. At our K–2 school, the 2nd graders will graduate and move on to our sister school across the street. They are looking forward to attending school with the older children and moving on in their educational careers.

I love reading books about summer and graduation. Here's a short booklist to kick off some of your end-of-the-year discussions:


Reflecting back on this year, I thought of the new things I tried and the things that I need to work on, including:

DSC00679 Classroom Library

This year I changed my classroom library from front-facing, wall-mounted shelves to baskets organized by genre. It took me a long time to sort and label the books last summer, but I was ready by the beginning of the school year. I was worried that my kids would not be able to return the books to their proper areas and that the library would be a mess. After living with this new system for a year, I'm happy to report that the kids were very responsible about returning the books to their correct bins.


Behavior Management

This year, in the middle of the year, I found a cool rainbow clip chart for classroom management from Rick Morris of New Management. I was using a stoplight, but I wanted to find a way to reward my great kids. It worked like a charm: it really allowed me to encourage model behavior in my well-behaved children while monitoring the kids who needed reminders and consequences. The kids really enjoyed competing with each other to move their pins up the chart during the day.










Lunch Count and Closet OrganizationDSC00678

This is the second year that we have had to take a lunch count, and the magnets seemed to work out well. When the students came in the door in the morning, they moved a star to the area of their lunch choice. Last year I had paper star die cuts with the students' numbers on them, but it took forever for them to find their numbers, which caused traffic jams, with kids complaining and pushing.






As I have confessed in previous posts, I am not a naturally organized person. This is the first year that I both succeeded and failed at organizing my closets. The office supplies stayed organized in the correct bins, but the art supply closet didn't stay organized at all. The odd-sized containers for paint and watercolors never seemed to fit back into the closet the same way. My goal for next year is to reorganize the art supplies into smaller, uniform containers by media type. Also, the closet was overstuffed, so I couldn't readily get in and out of it. I also need to label the containers more clearly.


Curtain Closets

I have a love/hate relationship with these closets. They are wonderful in that they provide invaluable space for my shelving and a way to keep all of my language arts materials together and organized in a way that is easy to access and easy to hide. The curtain closet closest to my desk, however, is still a jumble of piles hidden behind a curtain.


So this summer, both the art closet and one of the curtain closets are in for a total overhaul.






Math Program

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This year we adopted a new math program, enVision Math from Scott Foresman - Addison Wesley. The program is different from our old program in that the students receive newspaper-type handouts every day instead of having a math book. Also included in the program is a large baggie of math manipulatives for every student. So in addition to organizing math materials that I already had, I had to organize 25 sets of counters, base ten blocks, pattern blocks, linking cubes, etc., while keeping them easily accessible for me and for students working on their own. Overall, this worked well. The manipulatives were easy to clean up and return to their containers and the teacher's editions and the supplemental materials I had collected were easily sorted into the magazine files (pictured above). I will probably continue to use this system next year.

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I am cleaning out my professional development and blackline masters books from Scholastic, Carson-Dellosa, Instructional Fair, and more. Leave a comment on or before Tuesday, May 17, 2011, saying what you are going to change or try out for next year to enter the giveaway. I will be giving away a science bundle, an art bundle, a language arts bundle, and a math bundle of three gently used 2nd grade teacher books. Perfect for homework packets or sponge activities or to supplement your curriculum! One comment per person. Please indicate which bundle you are interested in when leaving your comment. Winners will be announced in the next post.

Come back next week when my students will share their writing in a special Author's Chair Book Talk video. We will be reading books that my students wrote for the Young Author's Fair in our school district.

Happy teaching,






  • #1 Tina Criste

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 09:39 PM

    Where did you find the clip chart? I have googled it and I cant seem to find it?

  • #2 Jen

    Monday, June 06, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    Hi Nancy,
    I found your advice/reflection on what works to be extremely helpful! I am a new teacher and will be teaching 2nd grade next year. I really cant wait and will definitely keep your recommendations in mind when setting up my classroom. Thanks!
    Happy teaching!
    - Jen

  • #3 Nancy Jang

    Monday, May 23, 2011 at 09:24 PM

    Sierra, Thank you so much for following me here at Scholastic. I hope that you will continue to find good stuff on my personal blog this summer and next year!

    Happy Teaching,

  • #4 Sierra

    Thursday, May 19, 2011 at 01:29 PM


    I love the book suggestions that you provide with nearly every post! I put each one on my wish list. I look forward to your own blog for the summer!

  • #5 Nancy Jang

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011 at 10:43 PM

    Thank you for sharing your reflections. Good luck and I hope you enjoy being back in the classroom again.

    Happy Teaching,

  • #6 Sharon

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    I enjoyed your post on your reflection. I am in a transition from Technology Integration Specialist back to a second grade classroom since my position was cut by the district to save money. I have been out of the classroom for 12 years and much of my classroom items I have given away. I would love to have your Art books since our elementary buildings to not receive art outside of the classroom.
    Thank you,

  • #7 Nancy Jang

    Monday, May 16, 2011 at 09:54 PM

    Thank you for sharing your reflections. Transitions are something I want to work on next year too!

    Happy Teaching,

  • #8 Felipe

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 06:10 PM

    Great post, and I love the giveaway, specially the math one.

    I am also going to make a little change to my classroom organization. I want to make everything more accessible and make transitions easier for my first graders.

    keep the good job

  • #9 Nancy Jang

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 03:22 PM

    Thanks for you for your comment! I have really loved posting this year. I hope that you found some good information and helpful tips. I am going to continue to blog next year, but not for Scholastic. Read my next post for my next blogging adventure. I hope that you will follow me there!

    Happy Teaching,

  • #10 Nancy Jang

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 03:18 PM

    Sylvia R.
    Thanks for sharing. I found it helpful to organize my materials by subject area and type. I hope you find my tips helpful.

    Happy teaching,

  • #11 Nancy Jang

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 03:15 PM

    M. Da Silva,
    Thanks for sharing. I'm going to check out "Power Teaching". It sounds interesting!

    Happy Teaching,

  • #12 Nancy Jang

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 03:11 PM

    Jennifer Hines,
    I don't reward the kids for moving up unless they get to the top of the chart or off the chart. The students pins are clipped in number order on the chart, 1-12 on the left and 13-25 on the right. If you have really young kids, attach their pictures to their pins so that it's easier to find.

    I only have them move their pins during a quiet work time (I'll tap them on the shoulder) or when I'm done teaching a lesson or giving directions. Usually if it's a lesson or directions, I'll tell kids that I am looking for good listeners to move their pins up. I don't reward students for moving up other than the top of the chart or off the chart because often times, the recognition from me is enough. I hope that this helps. Rick Morris also has a free e-book on how he used it on his web site.

    Happy Teaching,

  • #13 Nancy Jang

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 03:04 PM

    Those are great goals for next year. Thanks for sharing.

    Happy Teaching,

  • #14 Nancy Jang

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 03:02 PM

    Shannon B,
    I know that organizing the library is going to take a while. Don't be afraid to break it into chunks and enlist other people to help you if you can. I didn't get my whole library done this year. I still have to finish my non-fiction area. Thanks for sharing!

    Happy organizing!

  • #15 Nancy Jang

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 02:59 PM

    Good luck organizing your library. Even though it was a huge undertaking and I'm still not done, it was worth it! I still have to organize the non fiction books. :) Thank you for your comment.

    Happy organizing,

  • #16 Nancy Jang

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 02:55 PM

    Jenn Harper,
    Thanks for sharing! That is a tricky situation with no closets at all. I found some cool metal garage shelves that are really strong and inexpensive (about $50) at Costco. You can configure them to be a tall shelf about six feet tall and four feet wide with four shelves or break them down to eight feet wide and two shelves tall. You could use those for shelving and throw a curtain over it to hide your stuff. If you have space on your walls, you might want to think about wall shelves. I hope this helps!

    Happy organizing,

  • #17 Amy

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 02:52 PM

    Hi Nancy,
    I enjoyed all your posts this year, I was so glad there was a 2nd grade teacher on the Scholastic blogs this year! I started using the clip-chart this year in January and it really helped my students, so I plan to start off next year with it. I have so many things I want to try next year, but first up I am getting my files organized and numbering the baskets and books in the library so book return will be easier. Thanks again for your ideas, I hope you're blogging again next year!
    PS Most interested in the math bundle

  • #18 Nancy Jang

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 02:50 PM

    I have LOVED using the rainbow chart this year too. It has really changed the attitude of several of my kiddos. They love competing to see who can be caught being the best and moving up the rainbow! Thanks for your comment.

    Happy Teaching,

  • #19 Nancy Jang

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 02:48 PM

    Marybeth Moses,
    You can absolutely do this with Kinders. You could color code your books with colored stickers to match the correct colored bins that you want them to go in. For example, all "Silly Stories" are green dots and go in the green bins. OR you can use symbols for your labels like happy faces go in the happy faced bin and are Silly Stories.

    Happy Teaching,

  • #20 Nancy Jang

    Sunday, May 15, 2011 at 02:42 PM

    Ashley P,
    WOW!!! Congratulations on your grants. That's truly amazing and I'm sure that you are going to have a blast with your new tech toys. Thanks for sharing.

    Happy Teaching,

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Nancy Jang
Nancy Jang
Costa Mesa, CA
Grades 1-2
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